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Mozart: The Abduction from the Seraglio, Overture

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: Opera goes Deutsch!

Italian opera was already popular in Vienna in the late 18th century, but some Germans wanted something a little different. In 1778, the Emperor Joseph II established the “National Singspiel,” a company created to commission and perform works in the German language. This project was ultimately given up as a failure in 1783, but along the way it produced a number of successes. It’s most outstanding success was an opera by a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, The Abduction from the Seraglio. The opera is in the form of a Singspiel, a piece that replaces Italian recitative with spoken German dialogue mixed in with the set musical pieces. The Abduction was particularly popular after its premiere in 1782 because it played upon Western Europe’s then-current fascination with Turkish and Oriental culture. The opera itself is set in Turkey and features “westernized” examples of Turkish music.

Music Heard On This Episode

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio
Mozart Orchestra of the Zurich Opera House; Nikolaus Harnoncourt — Mozart Overtures (Elektra / Wea, 1994)
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album cover
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio
Mozart Orchestra of the Zurich Opera House; Nikolaus Harnoncourt — Mozart Overtures (Elektra / Wea, 1994)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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